6: College of Arts and Sciences

General Information | Academic Information | Departments and Programs | Faculty

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Program in Archaeology

Course Descriptions

Overview   The interdisciplinary major in archaeology combines the faculty and resources of several departments to create a program of study in prehistoric, historic, and classical archaeology. The discipline is concerned with the recovery, analysis and interpretation of the material remains of past cultures and societies. The topics of study pursued within the program can vary widely, ranging from issues of human origins and cultural evolution to the study of Classical Greece and Rome; from the structure of ancient Pueblo societies in the American Southwest to the study of colonial life in Virginia. The program provides majors with a knowledge of archaeological method and theory and a thorough grounding in specific cultural areas.

Faculty   As an interdisciplinary program, the faculty is composed of seven archaeology faculty members from the anthropology and art departments. In addition, other faculty from architecture, history, religious studies, environmental science, and chemistry offer courses which complement the major. Faculty sponsored field research in archaeology is currently being conducted in the Southwestern United States, Virginia, the Near East, Africa, and Italy.

Students   There are currently approximately twenty students majoring in archaeology. Students are required to complete a core program of three courses which include one course in anthropological archaeology (prehistoric), one course in classical archaeology (Greek or Roman), and one in archaeological field methods. Beyond those courses, students may either choose to focus on one area or seek a broad base of study in several time periods and geographical regions.

Upon graduation, many majors pursue a professional career in archaeology which typically requires an advanced degree. The University’s archaeology majors are sought by the best graduate programs in the United States, and are often offered significant financial support. Many who wish to pursue field research opportunities following graduation (often prior to entering graduate school) have found professional employment in the area of archaeological resource management, a growing private industry in the environmental impact field. Others have found employment with government agencies and museums. Since archaeology is a liberal arts major that offers a unique merger of both humanistic and scientific thought, many majors draw upon this training in pursuing careers in medicine, law, and a range of other fields.

Requirements for Major  All students enroll in a core curriculum of three courses which provide a broad overview of prehistoric and classical archaeology, and exposure to field methods both in theory and on an actual archaeological site. Five additional courses, selected in consultation with program advisors, explore specific areas and issues of archaeological research in various parts of the world. Other courses from the department of anthropology, history, and art may be substituted in consultation with program advisors. The final two courses are selected from such related areas as classics, religious studies, chemistry, and environmental sciences.

Minor in Archaeology   The minor consists of the core curriculum and an additional nine credits to be chosen in consultation with a program advisor.

Distinguished Majors Program in Archaeology (Program Honors)   Students with superior academic performance are encouraged to apply to the Distinguished Majors Program (DMP) in which they write a thesis demonstrating independent study of high quality. The requirements for admission to the DMP are as follows:

  1. Satisfaction of all College requirements as stated in the Record with a GPA of at least 3.4 in all University courses.
  2. A GPA of at least 3.4 in all courses taken as part of the archaeology major.
  3. Permission of an advisor. This person may be any member of the program's faculty who is willing to take on the responsibility of supervising the thesis, and is normally someone to whom the students have already demonstrated their ability in a specialized course at the 500 level.

Additional Information   For more information, contact Stephen Plog, Department of Anthropology, Brooks Hall, Charlottesville, VA 22903; (804) 924- 3549.

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